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California prepares court action against Trump's move on tailpipe emissions

California prepares court action against Trump's move on tailpipe emissions
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Officials in California said on Wednesday that they will fight the Trump administration's plans to revoke the state's authority to set its own emissions standards.

“There's no question, of course, that we will be in court," California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols said in a press conference.

“This is the fight of a lifetime. We have to win this,” she added.

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpVenezuela judge orders prison time for 6 American oil executives Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE announced earlier Wednesday that his administration will be removing California's tailpipe emissions waiver under the Clean Air Act, a decision that is expected to face fierce backlash in courts. 

The Clean Air Act allows California to set more stringent emissions standards — something the state has done for decades. Thirteen other states chose to adopt those tougher standards. 

California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomVaccine skepticism emerges as early test for Biden Mayor of Denver apologizes for holiday travel after advising residents to stay put California, Texas shatter single-day nationwide record for new coronavirus cases MORE (D) said Trump is trampling on states’ rights.

“That's not about states' rights. That's about bullying and intimidation. That's unethical,” he said, pointing to automakers' opposition to Trump’s measures.

"It’s about the oil industry, period. Full stop,” he added. “It's not about the car manufacturers; it’s not about consumers.”

California and the administration have been at loggerheads on a number of issues, in addition to vehicle emissions. The two sides have also failed to reach an agreement on a related standard on fuel economy. While the Trump administration has proposed rolling back Obama-era mileage goals, California has been working to get automakers to voluntarily meet higher fuel economy standards.

“I think that's what's leading to the president's unique frustration with California, because we are outsized in terms of our influence,” Newsom said.

California's leaders were light on details for the basis of their legal challenge to Trump's latest move, but state Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraClyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts Biden picks first Latino to lead Homeland Security House Hispanic Republicans welcome four new members MORE (D) said states also have due process rights.

“If the arguments in the president's tweets are the arguments they would use to propel this initiative, then we're looking pretty good,” Becerra said. “That's perhaps why they've taken so long to issue something they've been saying forever that they were going to do. They can't find a way to square the facts and the science with what they're trying to do.”

Nichols, meanwhile, said the administration's actions inhibit the state from dealing with climate change and could stop it from meeting federal air quality standards as pollution from vehicles contributes to dirtier air.

“The standards that we are now in the process of enforcing are necessary to protect the public health and welfare, not just because we care about the future of the planet or polar bears, it's because we actually need these extra clean cars in order to meet the health standards that are set by the federal government that we violate now on a very regular basis throughout Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley," she said.

This report was updated at 1:55 p.m.